MIGRATION AS A DESTABILIZATION FACTOR IN THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS

Dmitri NIKITIN
Alexander KHALMUKHAMEDOV


Dmitri Nikitin, Ph.D. (Hist.), chief specialist, Department of Crisis Situations, Ministry for Federation, Russia

Alexander Khalmuhamedov, Ph.D. (Philos.), deputy head, Department of Crisis Situations, Ministry for Federation, Russia


Migration is an objective social and economic process through which demographic and population resources are evenly spread across the country and increase its productive forces. Sometimes the process stops being a natural one and causes many difficulties. This unwelcome development is caused by economic problems, inefficient democratic institutions, ethnic and confessional conflicts, etc. History knows of many instances of positive migration when population inflow created states (the United States and Israel are the most apt examples) or ensured economic growth (this happened in the FRG and France). Russia is facing a negative migration mainly in the Northern Caucasusthe situation best described by the term crisis.

The region consists of ethnic republics and predominantly Russian federation subjects: the republics are a source of the migration flows while the Russian-speaking subjects are their receptacle. Here we have in mind alternating flows caused by economic reasons (labor migration) and illegal migration from other countries, yet mainly we are talking about forced migration inside the country. Today, in the Krasnodar Territory there are 15,000 people who left the Chechen Republic registered as forced migrants (40 percent of the total number of forced migrants registered there). The figure for the Rostov Region is 10,500, or 30 percent; for the Stavropol Territory, 21,500, or 74 percent.

Migration Specifics in the Predominantly Russian Areas

In the last few years the Krasnodar Territory has been demonstrating the fastest growth of the number of migrants (5 to 6 times higher than Russias average). According to unofficial figures, in the 1990s the total number of migrants there was over one million, of whom there were over 460,000 Russians.

Migration strongly affects the social, political, economic, and cultural situation of the local Russians who are a settled population with a set economic pattern. Contradictions and conflicts flare up because of too many southern newcomers. In 2001, ethnic conflicts between local people and non-Slavic migrants were registered in the Dinskaia, Krymsk, Abinsk, Kanevskaia districts and the town of Slaviansk-na-Kubani. The sides are Cossack organizations and Armenians, Meskhetian Turks and Kurds.

Today, there are 244,000 Armenians in the territory, about 60,000 of them having arrived in the 1990s. Unofficial figures are several times higher. They live in compact groups along the Black Sea coast and comprise 12, 15, and 38 percent of the total population in Tuapse, Sochi, and Adler, respectively. The relations with the local people are not simple: part of the Russians cannot accept Armenians active business activity. Some of the Cossack organizations insist that the Armenian inflow should be limited, that they should not be registered there, should not be allowed to buy houses, land, and enterprises.

A considerable part of the Armenians has been living in the territory for several centuriesyet they are still aliens to their Russian neighbors.

Meskhetian Turks are recent arrivalsthey came in the early 1990s driven away by the 1989 ethnic conflicts in the Ferghana Valley (Uzbekistan) (where they had been deported from Georgia in 1944). There are about 20,000 of them in the Krasnodar Territory. They live in compact groups in the Abinsk, Apsheronsk, and Krymsk districts. In some places (in the villages of Neberdzhievskaia, Nizhne-Bakanskaia, and others) they are in the majority. Since the early 1990s over 50 conflicts with Meskhetian Turks have been registered there. The Cossacks never tire of repeating that they can no longer live side by side with them and demand their resettlement (as promptly as possible) to their historic homelands (Georgia and Turkey). The Meskhetian Turks, on their part, demand permanent registration in places of present domicile and accuse the local authorities of infringing on their rights and freedoms.

The problem of their repatriation is a permanent issue on the Russian-Georgian agenda. Upon joining the Council of Europe Georgia pledged to resolve the repatriation problem yet it is biding for time. Procrastination is explained by economic problems and a large number of refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Today, the dialog on the problem is conducted within the Russian-Georgian Commission for Economic Cooperation.

The Kurds who came from the Kursk Region (where they had arrived from the Southern Caucasus and the far abroad) created a serious ethnic and political problem. About three thousands of them live in a compact group in the north of Adigey and sell products of their labor on the Krasnodar markets. The local Russians till land and grow grain on a large scale while Kurd migrants prefer cattle breeding and vegetable growing. Not infrequently, migrants use fields as grazing grounds (there are no proper grazing grounds around) and use too much precious water for their vegetable gardens.

Until the late 1990s it was the Stavropol Territory that had accepted the largest number of forced migrants. Recently, migrants started arriving mainly to the Kransnodar Territory. There are 29 thousand registered migrants in the Stavropol Territory while their real number is about 100 thousand. The largest part of them (about 50 thousand) are economic migrants from Daghestan (of them 38 thousand Darghins). They settle in compact groups in the areas eastern parts and in some places are in the majority (Darghins are in the majority in 24 settlements, Lezghians, Kumyks, and Aghuls, in 2 each).

The situations in the districts of Mineralnye Vody, Kurskaia, Turkmenskiy, Levokumskoe, Neftekumsk, Budennovsk, Krasnogvardeiskoe where the migrants comprise from 5 to 16 percent of the total population is far from simple. In the Turkmenskiy District where 16 percent of the people are Turkmens there are 26 percent of them among the militia. The local Russians are displeased with an obvious bias of the Turkmen militiamen toward their own people (the most frequent crime is cattle stealing) and open bribe taking practiced by the Turkmen traffic policemen. This caused mass disorders in the village of Kendzhe-Kulak on 6-7 January, 2001.

In the Rostov Region there are over 17 thousand Meskhetian Turks, together they form a large compact group living in the Semikarakorsk District. In some places Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Chechens and Daghestanis outnumber Russians. For example, in the village of Bogoroditskoe 93 Russians had to live side by side with 156 Chechens who had been resettled there from the Vedeno District of Chechnia. Conflicts especially among young men are everyday occurrences in such places.

Today, in the Russian regions of the Northern Caucasus we are witnessing a beginning of a trend that might develop either into a positive factor of integration of the migrants (through national-cultural autonomy, for example) or into a destructive factor (which is more probable). Being a smaller part of the regions population as a whole an ethnic minority may dominate in certain areas (district, village) and affect the ethnic and political situation there.

There is also a demographic factor: while the Russians demonstrate a natural decline of the population (more people die than are born) the migrants demonstrate a natural growth. The share of Russians in the places with mixed population is gradually dropping.

There is no ethnopolitical crisis in the short-term perspective yet the demographic factors can be abused by all sorts of nationalist movements. For example, Cossack activists describe the tradition of having many children in migrant families as a threat to the Russians who might, in future, be driven away from the places they are living now.

Migration Situation in Ethnic Republics

Migration from the ethnic republics of the Northern Caucasus is more active than from the Russian federation subjects. This is explained by traditions, economic motivation of the local people and the fact that they have enough money to move from time to time in search of work (labor migration). Men in these republics have no jobs either in the social (education and health) or other spheres or large industrial enterprises. Traditionally, the Caucasian peoples prefer trade and seasonal migrations. Starting with the 1990s they also became engaged in small business that calls for seasonal and periodical migrations.

This is supported by the fact that a migrant can rely on the existing structures of employment within an ethnic community in the Russian Federation and near abroad. The migrant situation in the ethnic republics depends on historical and geopolitical factors.

In Daghestan the problem of the repressed ethnic group of the Akkintsy Chechens who used to live in the Aukhovskiy District that was renamed into the Novolakskoe District when the Chechen had been deported and Lakhs moved in. In 1956 the Akkintsy Chechens returned to Daghestan and were settled in the Khasaviurt District. In 1991 it was decided to give them back their territory, restore the Aukhovskiy District and move out nearly 10 thousand Lakhs to the north of Makhachkala. For want of money the project failed, yet Akkintsy Chechens infiltrate the area on their own and settle there causing tension with the local Lakhs and Avars.

There is another potentially acute migration problem caused by the Karachais returning from other CIS countries. The Karachai community of Kazakhstan is 30 to 50 thousand strong, five thousands of them have already asked for a permission to return.

The leaders of Kabardino-Balkaria want to return descendants of the Kabardins and other Adighe-speaking peoples who left their homeland after the Caucasian war of the nineteenth century.

Starting with the second half of the twentieth century Avars and Darghins from the mountainous (western) regions moved to the valleys (the north and east of Daghestan) first as planned and later as spontaneous migrants. The share of the valley peoples (Kumyks, Nogais and Kizliar Cossacks) in places of their usual settlement is dropping fast. Public organizations of the Kumyks (Tenglik), Nogais (Birlik) and Cossacks (The Kizliar District of the Terek Cossack Troops) insist (very often they act together) that the lands in the valley should be registered as belonging to the autochthonous peoples.

The Soviet Unions disintegration made the Northern Caucasus a border area that painfully reacts to all crises in the adjacent states. Foreign centers of power interfere in domestic affairs of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, the local elites are weak and politically illogical. This increases the gap between these states and Russia at the international, regional, and personal levels, and between the peoples in the border areas.

Any ethnopolitical conflict in the region will start an avalanche of massive migration of the divided peoples (Lakhs, Lezghians, Avars, Tsakhurs, Azerbaijanis, Rutuls, Aghuls, Ossets, Chechens). Ethnic Daghestanis (Lezghians and Avars in the first place) will leave Azerbaijan and ethnic Azerbaijanis will move to the Republic of Azerbaijan from southern Daghestan. The north of Azerbaijan serves home for 250 thousand Lezghians, 60 thousand Avars, 20 thousand Lakhs, 6 thousand Aghuls and the same number of Rutuls living in compact groups. There are 80 thousand Azerbaijanians in the Derbent District of Daghestan. The situation in places where the divided people are now living is tense. In August 2001 in the Zakataly District of Azerbaijan Avars clashed with the Azerbaijani police and the army. From time to time the relations between the local Lezghians and Azerbaijanis become tense: they cannot agree about the ethnic affiliation of the leaders of the city of Derbent and the district.

Table 1

Information Supplied by Independent Experts about the Divided Peoples of Daghestan (thou people)

 

Russia

(Daghestan)

Azerbaijan

Georgia

Avars

600

60-120

15

Aghuls

20-24

4-6

Azerbaijanis

80-100

6,000

600

Lakhs

100

20

10

Lezghians

250

250-400

Rutuls

22-23

6-8

Tsakhurs

10

18-20

Forced Migration

The main feature of migration in the Northern Caucasus today is its predominantly forced nature. The number of forced migrants produces a catastrophic impact on the regions ethnosocial infrastructure. The region is home for 11.6 percent of Russias total population with a quarter of all registered forced migrants and three-thirds of refugees also living there. In 1993 there were 107.5 thousand forced migrants and refugees in the region, the figures for 1995-1996 are 242.8 thousand. Later, the numbers dropped to 220 thousand in 1997, 182 thousand in 1999, and 163 thousand in the first half of 2001.

The figures do not reflect the migration flows caused by the military action in Chechnia in 1994-1996 and 1999-2001 and in Daghestan (1999) because not all those who were driven away from these republics were registered as forced migrants. At the same time, the problem of internally displaced persons (IDPs) determines the migration situation in the region.

Forced migration1 in the Northern Caucasus is represented by four major ethnic groups: Ossets, refugees and forced migrants from Georgia; Ingushes, forced migrants from North Ossetia; Russians, forced migrants from the North Caucasian republics and the CIS; Chechens, IDPs from their places of settlement in the Chechen Republic.

Table 2

Number of Forced Migrants in the Northern Caucasus

(as of 1 October, 2001, thou people)

Subject of the Russian Federation

Refugees

Forced migrants

Internally displaced persons

Total

Adigey

0

0.9

0.04

0.94

Daghestan

0.4

9.4

4.6

14.4

Ingushetia

0

31.8

148.9

180.7

Kabardino-Balkaria

0

1.0

3.4

4.4

Karachaevo-Cherkessia

0

4.3

1.6

5.9

Krasnodar Territory

0

22.6

0.8

23.4

North Ossetia

19.7

25.1

2.4

47.2

Rostov Region

0

24.4

1.5

25.9

Stavropol Territory

0

29.8

5.9

35.7

Chechen Republic

0

0

198.0

198.0

Total for the Northern Caucasus

20.1

149.3

367.1

536.6

Total for the Russian Federation

26.1

696.0

372.4

1,094.5

Osset Refugees and Forced Migrants from South Ossetia and Internal Areas of Georgia

The armed ethnic conflict in Georgia of 1991 pushed 100-110 thousands of ethnic Ossets to North Ossetia. Starting with late 1993 when the situation improved some of them trickled back. Today, 29.3 thousand registered refugees and forced migrants2 (19.7 thousand refugees and 9.6 forced migrants) from Georgia are still living in North Ossetia (Russian Federation). This republic is now home to the largest number of refugees in Russiathe total number of refugees with refugee status is 26 thousand.

The situation in North Ossetia is difficult: about eight thousand are living in sanatoriums, hostels and even converted production facilities. Some of the refugees made vacated Ingush houses their homes. The great number of migrants adds tension to the ethnic situation in the republic: the northern (Irons and Dighors) and southern (Kudars) Ossets are not friendly neighbors. The Kudars mentality, traditions, and customs differ greatly from those of the local population, which causes numerous conflicts over everyday matters. Besides, forced migrants from South Ossetia add tension to the already tense relations between Ossets and Ingushes.

Under an intergovernmental agreement of 14 September, 1993 between Russia and Georgia on economic resurrection in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict Russia spent some of its budget money on construction and restoration in South Ossetia. The Russian Federation stopped paying the money in 1997; the sides never fulfilled their obligations under the agreement. An absence of an industrial and social infrastructure in South Ossetia prevents a massive return there and to internal areas of Georgia. The majority of the migrants refuse to return to their old places of residence.

Ingush Forced Migrants from North Ossetia

In the fall of 1992 a territorial dispute between the Ossets and Ingushes over the Prigorodniy District developed into an armed conflict. Before that 38,659 Ingushes lived in 19 settlements in North Ossetia. After the conflict the majority of them left their homes (according to the figures supplied by the Osset authorities, the number was 22 thousand; Ingush authorities insist on 38.7 thousand, that is, the entire Ingush population of North Ossetia). The Ingushes from the Maiski and Ezmi settlements of the Prigorodniy District and the Kusovo and Khurikau settlements of the Mozdok District were the only exception.

Since August 1994 the state has extended material support to 2,893 families (16,316 people) to help them return to their former homes. Every year the federal budget pays 200 million rubles to restore dwellings. Only nine thousand risked returning. Many of those who came back had to leave their homes again because of threats. The already restored and half-finished houses of Ingushes are shelled, windows are broken, etc. yet no prompt investigation follows. The Ingushes are not allowed to certain settlements in the Prigorodniy District (Terk, Ir, and others). In August 2001 an attempt to unload temporal dwellings at the village of Ir, Prigorodniy Disrict, nearly developed into an armed clash between the Ossetian and Ingush militia.

Alienation and even hostility between the Ingushes and Ossets that caused the 1992 conflict has not been overcome. Hostility is obvious at the personal level and between the local bodies of power. Those of the Ingushes who used to live in the water protection zone of the North Ossetian capital Vladikavkaz cannot return. On a decision of the North Ossetian authorities the settlements of Iuzhniy, Chernorechenskoe, Terk, Balta, Redant-II are included in the list of territories on which settlement and all sorts of economic activities are banned and to which forced migrants cannot return. Before the conflict there were 7,884 Ingushes. The government of Ingushetia is convinced that the leaders of North Ossetia use the trick to keep away the Ingushesafter all, there are Ossets still living in the zone.

We have already mentioned that a large share of dwellings abandoned by Ingushes were occupied by migrants from South Ossetia who, naturally, do not want to let the Ingushes return. The problem is especially acute in the settlements of Dachnoe and Dongaron where South Ossetian refugees are in the majority. According to the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation the level of crime in places where they are living in large groups is much higher than in the republic as a whole.

Russian Forced Migrants

The ethnic Russian migrants3 comprise the largest group of forced migrants in the region. It consists of those Russians who left the CIS countries and the North Caucasian republics (Chechnia in the first place) because of persecutions and threats. As forced migrants they settle mainly in the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories and the Rostov Region.

Over 300 thousand left the regions ethnic republics in the last decade. Early in 1999 the share of people of the title nationalities and the Russians was 70.6 and 19.0 percent, respectively. The figures for 1979 were 60.4 and 29.3 percent, for 1959 50.7 and 38.9 percent. Russians go away never to return. This is mainly typical of Chechnia. Dudaev who came to power in 1991 and later Maskhadov provoked and even encouraged ethnic- and confession-related violence and persecution in relation, first and foremost, to Russians. According to official information, by 1 October, 2001, 108 thousand left Chechnia after 1991 and were registered as forced migrants. Many people never applied for a status. In 1992 there were 336 thousand Russians in Chechnia; according to expert assessment, by the fall of 1999 there were slightly over 30 thousands of them, a drop of over 10 times.

There are only five thousand Russians in Ingushetia out of 24.6 thousand who lived in the republic in 1991. Over 18 thousand left the Sunzha District, a predominantly Russian area. In the 1990s, nine thousand Russians left North Ossetia mainly for economic reasons. Significantly, in the 1980s there were over 20 thousand economic migrants. In the 1990s an outflow of Russians was partially replenished with an inflow of Russians from places of even worse troubles (Chechnia, Daghestan, etc.).

In the 1990s, over 34 thousand Russians left Daghestan. They were mainly urban dwellers (the republics capital Makhachkala, for example, lost 25 thousand Russians). Their share in the total population dropped from nine to six percent; in the cities the relevant figures are 18 and 11 percent; in Makhachkala, 22 and 12 percent.

Political instability in Karachaevo-Cherkessia intensified an outflow of Russians: while between 1990 and 1998 about eight thousand Russians left the republic, starting with 1999 when a conflict between the Karachais and Cherkesses flared up over three thousand Russians are leaving every year. They mainly settle in the Stavropol and Krasnodar territories.

In the 1990s, over eight thousand Russians left Kabardino-Balkaria yet other Russian migrants arrive from troubled areas, Chechnia and Daghestan in the first place.

Forced migration of Russian-speakers across Russia caused by social and military-political crises and ethnic conflicts is fraught with adverse economic and social effects. As a result the North Caucasian republics become ethnically and territorially alienated from Russia that threatens its territorial integrity and negatively affects the republics social and economic development.

IDPs from Chechnia (1999-2001)

According to official information the antiterrorist operation in Chechnia driven out 543 thousand by 1 December, 2001. About 180 thousands of them have already come back or left for other regions without notifying authorities.

Today, there are about 370 thousand IDPs in the places of temporal settlement. The figures have not changed for two yearsand this is a significant fact. People are afraid of going back.4 The situation around this category tends to develop from temporal to constant, which calls for radical decisions up to adopting a law on an IDP status.

Dwellings, and the republics social and economic sphere, are restored at a very slow pace: as of November 2001 about 100 individual houses were restored that could receive not more than 500 to 600 people.

The majority of the forced migrants (mainly ethnic Chechens) cannot get a forced migrant status.5 Under Art 1 of the Federal Law on Forced Migrants a citizen of the Russian Federation is entitled to the status as a victim of violence or persecution (threat of persecution) for racial, ethnic, religious, etc. reasons. Obviously, the Chechen migrants left the republic during the antiterrorist operation for difference reasons not stipulated by Russian legislation.6

The Federal Law on Fighting Terrorism (No. 130- of 25 July, 1998) is indirectly applicable to those who left their homes during the antiterrorist operation. Under Art 13.1 Legal Regime in the Zone of an Antiterrorist Operation those who are empowered to conduct such operations have the right, if necessary, to temporarily limit or ban transport and people from streets and roads, to stop cars and trucks including those belonging to private persons, diplomatic representatives and consular offices, to deny entrance to individual places and objects and to remove citizens from individual places and objects.

The federal authorities proceeded from this article in the course of antiterrorist measures in Chechnia and Daghestan: in particular, they organized the so-called safety corridors to let civilians leave the zone of hostilities.

The conditions of their return to their homes have not yet been outlined though Art 16 Completing the Antiterrorist Operation of the law says: The antiterrorist operation is considered completed when the terrorist action is stemmed (stopped) and the threat to the lives and health of the people living in the zone of the antiterrorist operations is removed. It is the head of the operational staff of the antiterrorist operation that announces its end. In case of Chechnia such decision was not announced by 1 December, 2001, therefore there is still threat to lives and health of civiliansthere are no grounds to speak about a possibility of returning the IDPs to their homes.

The situation around the IDPs from Chechnia is a unique oneit has not been registered either in Russian or international laws. At the same time The Guiding Principles for Internally Displaced Persons formulated by Francis Deng, the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annans Special Representative for Internally Displaced Persons, to fulfill Resolution 19997/39 of the U.N. Human Rights Commission make it possible to analyze the situation.

The U.N. approach is based on the primary responsibility of the government of the country the population of which was displaced for providing legal and social support. The president and the government of Russia are looking at the problem in this context and regard it as one of the states priorities (Principles 2-3, 5, 28-30). A governmental commission was set up and new official posts introduced: the presidents special representative for human rights and a federal minister for economic and social restoration of the Chechen Republic. The state budget for 2001 allocated 500 million rubles for food for migrants and their other needs7 and 177.7 million rubles for their temporal settlement. The resolution of the government of Russia adopted on 3 March, 2001 (No. 163) determined that the funds be allocated for the migrants food and support. Proceeding from this document the federal budget pays for the food distributed in the migrant camps (15 rubles per day per capita), for the shelter and maintenance of such camps (20 rubles per day per capita). Six more rubles are paid per day per capita to bake bread and deliver it to people hiring dwellings in private houses. All the IDPs have the right to move themselves and their luggage free of charge to their homes in Chechnia.

According to Principle 1 the IDPs have the rights and freedoms the rest of Russian citizens are enjoying. Despite an excess of labor force in the regions of temporal domicile all those wishing to work can get employment and shelter. The employment services working side by side with the local administrations created about 40 thousand public jobs claimed by 25.3 thousand people.

The older people get their pensions, parents receive child allowances (Principle 4), the disabled, corresponding allowances (Principle 19). All migrants will get passports or temporal identification cards over time (Principle 20).

Humanitarian aid is important for feeding the IDPs and helps them survive. The government of Russia set up a coordinating commission to distribute such aid. By early 2001 over 23.5 thousand tons (including 10.5 thousand tons supplied by international organizations) arrived in Ingushetia, Chechnia, and Daghestan. Over half of the volume (14.3 thousand tons) went to Ingushetia, 4.7 thousand tons, to Chechnia, and 4.5 thousand tons, to Daghestan. In 2001, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Committee spent $27 million for humanitarian aid to the region; U.N. organizations (UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, and others), nearly $45 million. According to Principles 24-27 all activists of humanitarian organizations are under protection.

People left homes on their own free will, they were not driven away by the authorities (Principle 6). Those who are living in temporal places of domicile have the right to meetings and associations according to Principle 22 including the right to organize protest actions (meetings, hunger strikes, etc.).

According to Principle 7 the authorities have done all they could to supply migrants with adequate secure living conditions, to ensure food deliveries, health services, an adequate level of hygiene, and non-separation of families under Principle 17. There are schools, libraries, and viewing of video films in the tent camps (Principle 23). None of those who left their homes are conscripted by force (Principle 13). The migrants are actively using their right to leave the camps and come back (Principle 14) and to move to other regions (Principle 15). They move daily between Ingushetia and Chechnia to receive their social allowances and pensions in places where they used to live.

On the whole the situation is controlled by federal and Chechen authorities. All violations of the Guiding Principles, including violence in respect to migrants (unjustified detentions, mopping up operations, etc. that violate Principle 10) and plunder in violation of Principle 21 are investigated by the public prosecutors office on request of the citizens and those guilty of such violations are punished.

One can say that an absence of a normative act on compensation for destroyed homes and property and underfunding the humanitarian programs are two major shortcomings of the policy pursued by the Russian leaders in relation to the migrants that suffered in the second Chechen war. Indeed, in 2001 only 677.7 million rubles were allocated to help 370 thousand IDPs (1,700 rubles per person) while in 1999 in Daghestan the compensation had been several times larger.

Back in 1994-1996 the Russian leaders tended to settle the migrants from Chechnia in other areas of the Russian Federation.8 In the second campaign the government tries to create conditions for people to come back to their permanent homes within a relatively short period of time.9 Certain circumstances justify this decision. During the 1994-1996 hostilities over 150 thousand left Chechnia for Daghestan, the majority of whom went back in 1996. During the antiterrorist operation of 1999 only 4.5 thousands of the total number of 36.8 thousand migrants from Daghestan refused to go back. In late 1999 and early 2000 about 100 thousand displaced persons from Chechnia returned to their permanent homes.

Conclusion

A high level of internal forced migration is a symptom of a grave crisis: the area is obviously unstable and needs political therapy. Under the presidential decree of 16 October, 2001 it is the Ministry for Internal Affairs that is responsible for the migration problem which shows that the still unresolved migration-related problems in the Northern Caucasus threaten Russias ethnic and political stability. At the same time, the law enforcement bodies are not suited for analyzing the causes of migration: they can fight its effects and at best, prevent ethnic and political conflicts caused by migration.

The situation in the Northern Caucasus cannot be restored back to normal without a scientifically and economically substantiated migration-related policy aimed at regulating migration without conflicts in the interests of Russia and its nations.


1 The so-called enforced migration is one of the forms of forced migration. By this we mean deportations of 1944 of the Chechens, Ingushes, Balkars, Karachais from their ethnic territories to Central Asia. This is a subject of another, mainly historical, research. The aftereffects of the deportations are still felt in the Northern Caucasus. Repatriation of the Meskhetian Turks is still acute.

2 A refugee and a forced migrant are two different categories according to the Russian laws. A refugee is a foreigner, a forced migrant is a Russian citizen.

3 The term applies not only to ethnic Russians but also to other ethnic groups ethnically and culturally close to Russians.

4 Part of them (about 40 thousand) expressed a desire to remain in Ingushetia on a permanent basis.

5 As a rule, the Russians who left Chechnia in the last two years get the status of forced migrant. Today, there are about eight thousands of them.

6 Another Federal law, On Refugees, is related to foreigners, therefore it is not applicable to the citizens who left the Republic of Chechnia.

7 The draft budget for 2002 allocated 1 billion 609 million rubles for these purposes.

8 The main normative document dealing with settlement of those who left Chechnia during the first campaign was a decision passed by the cabinet on 30 April, 1997, No. 510, that established the way compensations for lost homes and/or property should be paid to those who suffered as a result of settling the crisis in the Chechen Republic and left it forever.

9 The media use the term temporarily displaced persons.


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